9th April, 2005. Rangashankara (RS), Bangalore. Our 2nd show of ‘Moonshine and Skytoffee’, a play based on 2 short stories of the Malayalam writer Vaikom Muhammad Basheer in Bangalore. Our very first run at RS, a theatre which had opened to the public less than a year ago.
It had rained in the evening on the previous day, but thankfully well before our show started. And the show had been nearly sold out. On the day in question, we had even more people, or so it seemed. They had gathered well before the show started, filling the foyer of the theatre, and there was a buzz of activity and anticipation.
At that precise moment, the electricity went off. Not a problem usually, with the generator being quick to take over, but on that day the generator refused to work. Nobody knew this except the staff of the theatre and us, and they frantically tried to reach the repair man, but in vain. 7.30 pm (show time) was fast approaching and RS was known to start shows exactly on time (and refuse people entry after, a reputation they have maintained over the years). Arundhati Nag, the director of RS stepped up on the stairs and addressed the crowd, telling them that the problem was being attended to, and reassuring them that the show would start. Show time came and went. Some people started demanding a refund, but we firmly dissuaded them, saying that the show would definitely happen.
Finally the generator was repaired and the show started at 8.30 pm, an hour later than usual. And the audience for the most part stayed. And the auditorium was bursting at the seams. And this was one of the best shows of the play that we had had till then. Or so the cast and crew told me.
I didn’t watch the show. The tension had taken a toll on me and I absconded to a nearby bar just as the show started. And downed a few beers.